Every year, thousands of dogs suffer injuries, health problems, and even die from heat-related issues during the summer. Don’t let your dog become a statistic, and help educate your friends and neighbors with these tips.
Tip #1. Avoid Hot Surfaces.
Most of us have put our bare feet on a hot surface before. It’s no fun. Imagine how your dog’s pads might feel on hot asphalt in 90 degree weather? Try to stay in the shade, on stone surfaces, or grass when walking your dog. If the worst happens, and your dog’s pads become burnt, the VCA has advice for treating the injury:
Even though foot pads are tough, they can burn on a scorching sidewalk in the middle of the summer or on icy surfaces during the winter. If your dog licks at her feet or limps after a summertime or wintertime stroll, sooth her pads by soaking the foot in room temperature water. If the pads become discolored or if the tissue under the pad becomes exposed, contact your veterinarian. Severe burns need to be treated professionally. Apply antibiotic ointment to the burned foot pad and bandage the paw. Daily bandage changes and close monitoring of the injury are important. Report any changes described under the section on torn foot pads to your veterinarian.
Tip #2. Practice Water Safety.
Dogs aren’t all born to swim. Terriers in particular were not bred as working dogs where swimming is required. Dogs must be supervised at all times when in the water. Dogs that are new to the water should be acclimated carefully and not forced to engage in “water sports.” When boating or near water, make sure your dog has on a water floatation device like a life vest.
Tip #3. Don’t Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car
We can’t believe there are people that do this, but don’t ever leave your dog in a parked car unattended during summer. (We’d argue this is bad practice at any time of the year, but that’s a subject for another day.) Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees, leading to shock and death. It’s not a good way to die, so don’t do it. Keep an eye out for dogs in hot cars in parking lots, and call the authorities if you see one. Local and state laws may offer some or no protection to people who break car windows to save a dog, so make sure you arm yourself with legal knowledge depending on where you live.
Tip #4. Limit Physical Activity During Hot Parts of the Day
Exposure to heat can cause overheating and dehydration. According to the ASPCA, “the symptoms of overheating in pets can include increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, mild weakness, seizures, and an elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees).” Restrict exposure to hot weather to short sessions, and limit running and other forms of vigorous exercise. Avoid going outside
We hope these tips are helpful to you! Summer is a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors. With preparation and information, dogs can be safe during this time and have fun too!